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DID N.J. DIOCESE PAY ACCUSERS?

SHARE DID N.J. DIOCESE PAY ACCUSERS?

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Camden, N.J., has paid at least $3.2 million to 19 men and women since 1990 to settle complaints of sexual abuse against nine priests, The Philadelphia Inquirer said.

The most recent payments, totaling $1.8 million, were made in October to 15 adults who accused diocesan priests of molesting them when they were children, the newspaper said.Diocesan officials did not return calls, the Inquirer said.

Stephen Palo, 31, one of 15 people involved in the October settlement, told the paper the church agreed to settle only if no one involved spoke publicly about the case.

"No matter how much money I get, no matter how much money the other victims get, the church is continually allowing the abuse to go on because they are paying us to be quiet," Palo said.

Another complainant involved in the settlement is Gary Hayes, himself a priest, the Inquirer said. He and two other men sued in 1993, claiming a priest had sexually abused them. In October, a diocesan lawyer said all differences had been resolved.